Good news for those who look forward to the Harvest Nights Car Cruise — after deliberation over whether or not the event would return this year, a newly-formed committee for the overall Harvest Days festival will be putting on a new, stripped down version of the cruise as it works on its first year of handling the event.
A few of the organizers for 2019’s Harvest Days sat down with The Reflector last week to talk about this year’s festival, explaining that although it won’t be as big as prior years there’s still lots to offer for those looking to celebrate.
Though for a while the potential for a car cruise this year was in jeopardy, following a committee meeting June 18 organizers decided to go ahead with the event.
“Cruzzin’ BG” is slated for Friday, July 19 and will follow the same route as past years, though a beer garden, live stage and burnout pit will be absent, Harvest Days committee member Kendra Laratta explained.
“We’re definitely simplifying,” Laratta said. “Based on the timeframe we have left we don’t really have a choice but make it a little more simplified version.”
“We came into this late,” Committee member and Battle Ground Deputy Mayor Shane Bowman said, explaining that work didn’t really begin until the start of this year. The committee has taken over from the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce, the organization that put on the event in years past — the chamber folded into the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce in October, leaving the potential for a 2019 Harvest Days up in the air.
Bowman said that initially, the city thought it could handle putting on the festival, though for insurance purposes among others it made more sense to form a nonprofit to take over. Though he said the chamber did well at putting on the event it was largely a fundraiser for the organization.
“We’re not looking at this as a fundraiser at all. We’re looking at how we can put on the best event for the community,” Bowman said.
The cruise will start at 6:30 p.m. with registration at 2 p.m. Only car models 1978 and older will be accepted and the $20 registration will be entirely day-of registration — no pre-registration will be accepted.
Laratta said that the inevitability of would-be cruisers still hitting Main Street regardless of any official organization made the committee go forward with coordinating an event. Bowman noted that many local businesses already planned on a cruise happening, making the need for putting it on that much more apparent.
Bowman has been involved with the burnout pit since its inception. Though the pit wouldn’t be returning for 2019, he said he has enough experience with the logistics of the cruise to be able to organize a new event.
“I knew how many people it took. I knew what we were going to need,” Bowman said.
Club boosters lead vendor fair planning
The next day the annual Harvest Days Parade will head down Main Street starting at 10 a.m. From noon to 6 p.m. that day Battle Ground High School will be the site of a vendor fair and a community stage put on by the Battle Ground Drama Club Boosters.
Boosters President Holly Smith said they will also be hosting two contests, a “dad joke” competition, and a lip sync battle, which will help to raise money for the club’s trip to the Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland in August.
When Smith spoke to The Reflector June 19 she said she had 12 contracts out for the event so far.
Other events include a pancake breakfast put on by Fire District 3 on Main Street along the parade route. Laratta explained the location was chosen to have better visibility, and hopefully attendance, as opposed to hosting it at the fire station. The district will have some of its equipment on-scene along with a children’s agility course, according to the Harvest Days website.
On Sunday, The Extreme Tour will stop by the Battle Ground Skate Park, featuring bands and a skate/BMX/scooter competition according to the Harvest Days website.
Organizers hope the slimmed-down version of Harvest Days will allow for the new committee to get its bearings in organization, with hopes to expand it back to its former glory in subsequent years.
“We know it’s going to be a building year for us, but we’re really looking forward to seeing what we can do this year and how we can build on that for next year,” Laratta remarked.
“I think it’s going to be good. Next year is going to be even better,” Bowman added.